March 2002

My Stories

Mother of all Road Trips-1

Mother of all Road Trips-2

Mother of all Road Trips-3

Mother of all Road Trips-4

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V


Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla


Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl



Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners


Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say


Middle School Relay

Grad Party


Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches


Old Faithful Inn


Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings


Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back

Two nights ago Sue called with some devastating news: their son, Alex, is diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a cancer with about an 80% cure rate.

Alex is a good friend of Zach’s, part of a circle of 17 year old boys at Sprague High School, one of several kids I hold dear.

Alex has a dry sense of humor, athletic talent, and a brain barely contained by standardized tests. He’s so attractive that girls obsess over him, yet remains so shy that he has no clue what the girls really think. Of course, this just increases his attractiveness.

Zach’s first inclination at the news was to spread the word via internet chat line. Junior class boys planned a Tuesday drive to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. Zach made certain that Mikayla, the unattainable beauty of Sprague’s junior class, got Alex’s room number. She called him almost immediately.

Jim and I decided Sunday was a better visiting day than Tuesday. We could drive up together, and Jim needed me along as much as I needed him for this particular trip. Still, we merely provided a vehicle for what Alex really needed: a little band of teenagers to bolster his spirits. So we called Sue to see if Alex was up for visitors, then picked up Jeff and Trevor.

Zach, Jeff and Trevor were so brave, it breaks my heart. They are so young to go through this, but they never hesitated, not for a moment.

Al and Sue greeted us at Alex’s room, jokingly with him about finding these teenage boys wandering the streets of Portland. Even so, the first few minutes felt uneasy. Alex appeared thin and vulnerable atop the bed in shorts and t-shirt. I didn’t think we’d be staying long.

Thankfully, the awkwardness soon melted, and as Trevor recounted, it was as if they were all back in our basement playing video games together. Sue and I stood outside the room, watching as a relaxed Alex talked and laughed with his friends. Several times she whispered to me, "Look at that. Look at that." Our visit went longer than originally planned; it had to.

Tonight I carry an image of four boys in a hospital oncology room, each one loving God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. It is difficult to concentrate on my bible study. This week we examine Psalm 55, a song of personal anguish and the call for refuge and relief. I realize God used these boys as Alex’s relief, if just for an hour.

"Look at that. Look at that."